Obedience, Pet & Agility Training

“Problem Dog” Consultations

Individual and Group Training Lessons for all Breeds & Ages

 

(412) 302-6736

Dog Training in Butler, PA

Class Descriptions

Entry Level Classes

Due to the recent pandemic, we are temporarily restructuring some of our Entry level classes.  This will help reduce the number of students entering the building, and will allow us time to meet the demand of students needing classes.

 

These classes will be offered in two parts: a combination of remote learning and in-person review. 

Complete Puppy Class

CLASS FORMAT
This class will be a combination of remote learning and in-person review. Students in Complete Puppy will receive emailed lessons for weeks 1, 2, and 3 PRIOR to our first ‘in-person’ class. These lessons are completely written out and include videos for reference. Then we will have an in-person class, which will review those 3 weeks of class material. This will be followed by emailed lessons for weeks 4 & 5, with an in-person class for week 6. Week 7 will be an in-person class also, and will allow students and the instructor to go over any questions or concerns. This format will allow puppies as young as 10 weeks the opportunity to start training sooner, because they will be ‘home schooled’.  Puppies must be 12 weeks of age, with proof of vaccinations from a veterinarian’s office by the first “in-person” class though. You can bring those to your first class, or send in with your registration. 
 
It may not be what traditional obedience classes were, but in order to try to keep everyone safe, and reduce traffic in the building, this is our chosen method. This method was used during the recent shut down, (except that they had 5 emails sent before their first in person meeting) and the results for the students that did the work was AMAZING!  We will revisit this format and structure in the fall/winter of 2020. 
 
Due to ‘social distancing’ precautions, puppy class size is limited to 8 students, with ONE alternate handler per puppy allowed to attend each week.

We are (temporarily) discontinuing the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program, due to certain portions of the program that require close contact with students, their dogs, or their equipment. 

ADDITIONAL DETAILS
For ages 10 weeks to 10 months
Complete Puppy focuses on teaching good social skills for your puppy, as well as addressing the concerns of a “new puppy parent” such as house breaking, crate training, biting, chewing, basic grooming, etc. You will learn what type of temperament your puppy has, and what the best methods are to teach your puppy all the way into adulthood. Extra help is given to work on SOCIAL skills for your puppy in this ‘new normal’ we are living in.
 

Basic obedience commands that are introduced in this class include: attention and focus to the owner, Sit, Stand, & Down positions. Leash walking, Recall command, (COME) and teaching a reliable STAY command. Lessons are also given for a PLACE command, and not jumping on people (OFF).

Complete Puppy is divided into (at least) 7 lessons. (This may change as we move forward.) The dates and times are listed on the SCHEDULES page.

Students must enroll by the registration deadline date. You MUST refer to your preferred class option by the COLOR associated with it on your registration form. Upon receipt of your registration and payment, you will receive Lesson 1 email with several attachments.  These will cover FACILITY RULES, a RESOURCE GUIDE for collars, leashes, and other training tools, and your first HOMEWORK assignment: teaching your puppy how to relax. These lessons will be emailed, typically on a Saturday. If you are a quick study, you may request a 1 week advance of new material between in-person classes. You will receive lesson #2, and lesson #3 after that. 

If your requested class color is filled, you will be assigned the alternate color (same day, different time) session.

To keep things flowing, please be sure you can attend the scheduled classes as listed. Changes in class scheduling are difficult to accommodate, but we will do our best to try to help you out if an emergency arises. 

Classes will be between 60-90 minutes depending on group proficiency with ‘home study’ material.

I will be available by phone, email, or ZOOM meeting to answer any questions someone may have during the email/classes.

If you do not show up for the in-person class, and you do not check in with me, I will NOT send the rest of the class emails until I hear from you. This program is successful, but only if you do the work. The paragraph below says it best.

Training a dog is a lot like a gym membership.

Simply paying the registration fee will not get results.

Going for a month and quitting because you haven’t reached your end goal is unrealistic.

It requires a lifestyle change, patience, and commitment.

Failure to look at the bigger picture will give you limited results.

It typically takes 2 years to train your dog to behave reliably.

Class fees and registration forms can be filled out and mailed in, or dropped off at Family Dog Obedience before the registration cut off date. Late comers may be accepted if there is room in the requested class, for a $15 additional administration fee. Registration forms are on the website. We are not accepting credit card or Paypal payments for classes yet. After I receive your check and form, I will contact you within a reasonable time frame.

REQUIREMENTS – ACCESS TO EMAIL IS MANDATORY. Facebook participation is highly recommended, as there will be a private group created for puppy class students to ask questions and network. Proof of vaccinations/health check up from vet office required. Puppies ages 12 weeks – 10 months eligible for this class.  Older smaller breed dogs may be permitted with instructor approval. 
 

Cost of the COMPLETE PUPPY class is $129

Basic Manners 1 Class

For dogs ages 10 months and up. The focus in Basic Manners 1 is to reinforce the basic skills that most dog owner’s desire: The dog will already sit and lie down on command, but will learn how to stay in place, how to come when called, and how to walk nicely on leash. Time is spent discussing different tools, such as collars and leashes, that can be useful in training, as well as brief discussions on adolescent behaviors and challenges. Basic Manners 1 also includes a Leave It command, a PLACE command, a right side walking command and several other “Mind Your Manners” practices. Basic Manners 1 is 6 weeks long. Cost $175. Class size is limited to 6 dog/handler teams.

REQUIREMENTS – For dogs ages 10 months and up. Dogs must be free from aggressive behaviors towards people and other dogs in order to attend this class. If dogs are thought to be aggressive/reactive towards people or dogs, a private lesson will be required before attending this class. MALE dogs must be neutered if older than 8 months of age unless prior approval is given. 

Intermediate Level Classes

Intermediate level classes require one or more Entry Level Classes. Please note additional requirements listed after each class. Intermediate Level Classes are not confirmed via email unless there is a problem with the registration.

These classes will be offered in two parts: a combination of remote learning and in-person review. 

Graduate Puppy Class

For dogs who have fulfilled the requirements of the COMPLETE PUPPY CLASS at Family Dog. This class includes training exercises such as leash walking/Heel training, adding variations to the STAY command, and more work on COMING WHEN CALLED. The extra benefit of GRADUATE puppy is that it is the learning level is above and beyond other entry level students, so Agility obstacles, CGC behaviors, and more detailed discussions about dog behavior are addressed. Students are also familiar with each other, and friendships between humans, and dogs are being formed.

Graduate Puppy also includes a Leave It command, a Right side walking command, and different ways to prevent a dog from jumping up on you or other people. Different dog sports such as Agility, Rally Obedience, AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate, etc are also discussed. Graduate Puppy is 4 weeks long.

CLASS FORMAT

This class will be a combination of remote learning and in-person review. Students in Graduate Puppy will receive emailed lessons for weeks 1 and 2 PRIOR to our first ‘in-person’ class. These lessons are completely written out and include videos for reference. Then we will have an in-person class, which will review those 2 weeks of class material. This will be followed by emailed lessons for weeks 3 & 4, with an in-person class after that which will allow students and the instructor to go over any questions or concerns. 

REQUIREMENTS – ACCESS TO EMAIL IS MANDATORY. Facebook participation is highly recommended, as there will be a private group created for puppy class students to ask questions and network. Dogs must have completed the Complete Puppy Program with Family Dog Obedience, or get prior approval from instructor by having a placement test scheduled.

Basic Manners 2 Class

Basic Manners 2 Class is the continuation from Basics Manners 1. Previously taught skills from Basics 1 are continued to be practiced and proofed, with some new activities and skills. Canine Good Citizen skills are taught and practiced. Class may elect to be tested for CGC if ready. Students must have completed Basic Manners 1, Complete Puppy, or prove equivalent training if coming from another training school.

Basic Manners 2 is 4 weeks long. Cost $80 (CGC test is additional $10). Class size is limited to 6-8 dog/handler teams. 

REQUIREMENTS – For dogs ages 10 months and up. Dogs must be free from aggressive behaviors towards people and other dogs in order to attend this class. If dogs are thought to be aggressive/reactive towards people or dogs, a private lesson will be required before attending this class. MALE dogs must be neutered if older than 8 months of age unless prior approval is given.

Versatility Class

These sessions are designed to offer more challenging exercises for both the dog and the handler. Versatility classes help you strengthen the connection between you and your dog by introducing distance/duration/distraction elements during training practices, achieving a higher level of learning with your dog.  New skills that will be taught include “touch/targeting” practices, various ‘leave it’ exercises, and continued practice of  the “place’ command. Classes may also address the different aspects of dog training activities, such as exercises from Rally Obedience, CGC skills, beginner Agility obstacles and maneuvers, teaching tricks, introductory Fit Fido practices, and clicker/marker training skills.

REQUIREMENTS – It is recommended that your dog has attended Complete Puppy classes and/or Basic Manners classes with us in order to enroll. Dogs must be well-socialized and non-reactive to people or other dogs to participate. We will not be limiting the size of Versatility class, but if more than 10 people participate, we are requesting that you wear a mask during class.

Rally

Rally is a fun and exciting team sport for dogs and their handlers! Dog and handler teams navigate a course at a brisk, continuous pace, with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform. It is a fun test of obedience and the trust in the relationship between dog and handler. All dogs, purebred and mixed breed, are encouraged to participate. Rally is fun for all—family dogs, teams beginning show careers, teams retiring from more physically demanding sports and teams who just enjoy a good, challenging competition in a friendly atmosphere. Any dog in good health is a strong candidate for Rally. There are even special provisions for dogs with certain handicaps. So small or large, young or old, purebred or mixed breed, they are all able to join in the fun. Rally helps improve your dog’s focus and build teamwork and a trusting relationship with your dog in a fun activity by navigating a series of unique exercises.

REQUIREMENTS – It is recommended that your dog has attended Complete Puppy classes and/or Basic Manners classes with us in order to enroll. Dogs must be well-socialized and non-reactive to people or other dogs to participate. 
For more information about Rally, please visit the American Kennel Club Website

Advance Level Classes

Advanced level classes require one or more Entry Level Classes and one or more Intermediate Level Classes. Please note additional requirements listed after each class. Advanced Level Classes are not confirmed via email unless there is a problem with the registration.

AKC Canine Good Citizen / CGCA-AKC Community Canine

Family Dog Obedience offers the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, as a same day-“class & test” option. This is open to dogs and handlers that have participated in basic dog obedience training classes, and have some knowledge of the CGC program. 

Students will participate in a class that offers practice time for each of the 10 required exercises. Students will practice using other students as needed, such as in TEST #8: Reaction to Another Dog, or TEST #10: Supervised Separation. At the end of the class, students who feel ready to take the test will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, and prepare to take the test with the CGC evaluator, as required by the American Kennel Club. Students who do not feel ready to take the test may remain and watch the test, and even participate if needed for the Walking Through a Crowd portion. 

Pre-registration is required for the class portion, and students should bring their own brush for their dog. Class fee is $15. Participation in the CGC test is an additional $10.

REQUIREMENTS – For dogs 6 months of age and older. While some dogs and handlers may only need the 4-week duration of this course to pass the test, it is HIGHLY recommended that your dog has attended Complete Puppy classes and Basic Manners classes with us in order to enroll. Dogs must be well-socialized and non-reactive to people or other dogs to participate.

For more information about the CGC test, and its requirements, please visit the AKC website at www.akc.org, and search for “Canine Good Citizen.”

Pre-Agility 1 Class

If you are interested in learning about the sport of dog agility, this is the place to begin! This class is designed to introduce you and your dog to the basic rules and handling skills needed to guide your dog around the agility course. A variety of agility obstacles will be introduced in a fun and safe manner. All jumps are kept at a low height and the contact obstacles are introduced in a planned sequence and at lowered heights. Most scenarios can be practiced at home with very little extra equipment needed. This class is a 6 weeks long and class size is limited to 6 participants.

Pre-Agility 2 Class

This class is designed to be a continuation of the Pre-Agility 1 class. During this session we complete our introduction to all the agility obstacles and add some additional handling skills. Short off-leash obstacle sequences are used to build confidence and apply basic handling moves.

REQUIREMENTS – It is recommended that your dog has attended Complete Puppy classes and/or Graduate Puppy / Basic Manners classes with us in order to enroll in Pre-Agility 1, and dogs must have completed Pre-Agility 1 with us (or show equivalent skill level) in order to enroll in Pre-Agility 2. Dogs must be well-socialized and non-reactive to people or other dogs to participate.

Agility Level 1 Class

Please note: Our Agility classes are aimed at helping train the FAMILY DOG in this recreational activity. While students could move into Competitive aspects of Agility, our focus is for the FAMILY DOG to have fun, get more exercise, and learn improved communication.

There is no affiliation with any of the competition venues (AKC, NADAC etc.) The main goal for offering Agility classes is to give handlers and dogs an opportunity to practice a fun event that requires teamwork, communication between dog and handler, and foundational obedience skills.

This class will focus on strengthening the basic handling skills from the Pre-Agility agility class, adding new handling skills and increasing your dog’s stamina and proficiency on obstacles like weave poles, contact obstacles and multiple jump arrangements. This class aims for successful completion of longer sequences, including beginner (ACT) level courses and full height obstacles. This class is 6 weeks long and class size is limited to 6 participants.

REQUIREMENTS – Your dog must first attend the Pre-Agility class with us in order to enroll for Agility Level 1. Dogs must be well-socialized and non-reactive to people or other dogs to participate.

Agility Level 2 Class

Please note: Our Agility classes are aimed at helping train the FAMILY DOG in this recreational activity. While students could move into Competitive aspects of Agility, our focus is for the FAMILY DOG to have fun, get more exercise, and learn improved communication.

There is no affiliation with any of the competition venues (AKC, NADAC etc.) The main goal for offering Agility classes is to give handlers and dogs an opportunity to practice a fun event that requires teamwork, communication between dog and handler, and foundational obedience skills.

This class will guide students to further advance their handling skills and to improve their dog’s performance on all agility obstacles. Novice and Open level courses are analyzed and practiced. Ring procedures are taught and handling techniques are stressed to best match the strengths and weaknesses of each working team. Dogs must be able to perform all the agility obstacles. Students in this class may be interested in participating in Agility Run-Throughs.

REQUIREMENTS – Your dog must first attend the Agility Level 1 class with us and be able to satisfactorily perform obstacles with OFF LEASH control in order to enroll for Agility 2. Students can repeat Agility 1 several times if they wish, and will receive a recommendation from the instructor to move up to Agility 2 when ready. Dogs must be well-socialized and non-reactive to people or other dogs to participate.

Agility Run-Throughs

Multiple options of courses will be offered, and time on the floor will be reserved by jump heights. You will be able to run once or multiple times, or select segments of the course to practice as you wish. Dogs must remain behind ring gating or be otherwise contained when it is not their turn to run. You may register with more than one dog, or participate in more than one run-through. Class time will run until everyone is finished, or 9:00 pm. Run-throughs are $5 for the first run and $3 for each run after that per person/dog. Disruptive, uncontrollable dogs may be excused.

Agility Course Challenge

This class is designed to offer a competition level challenge to those students that desire to advance their handling skills and/or proof the skills of their dog on a full course. A new course is presented each week with a variety of handling/obstacle challenges. Handlers may elect to perform the entire course or just a sequence of obstacles in a manner which suits their current training goals and abilities. Specific challenges may be highlighted and various handling options discussed during class as each handler attempts to perfect their skills. Handlers run the entire course multiple times, depending on class size and time limitations.

REQUIREMENTS – Students must have participated in Agility program classes with Family Dog Obedience. This program is offered as a six-week class, not as an ‘open run thru’. 

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COVID-19 UPDATE

Due to the recent pandemic, (and a LARGE portion of families getting dogs and puppies during this time!), we have had to restructure some of our Entry-level classes for now. This will help reduce the number of students entering the building, and allow us time to meet the demand of students needing classes. 

Our first priority for classes that will be offered is aimed at the PUPPY class level. We have temporarily reduced our allowable number of students in these classes to 8 participants, however, one additional family member may attend as an alternate handler. We apologize for these restrictions.

Our website is currently under reconstruction, so please check back for changes often! We are working as quickly as we can to get back to business.

MASKS - must be worn during breaks, and when entering or leaving the building. Once you have reached your work area, you may unmask. Instructors are not wearing masks while teaching, as there is a significant area for social distancing. 

CLASS FORMAT - Most class offerings will now be a blend of emails interspersed with 'in-person' classes. We will also be setting up a special Facebook group for our members, which will give you the weekly lessons to be combined with 'in-person" classes.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. 

Stay safe, 

Val